Traveling and Working While Pregnant- Way Easier Said Than Done
*Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland- my feet were killing me!
So once you’re pregnant, a lot of things we take for granted become progressively harder... staying awake past eight o’clock, tying your own shoes, not crying when watching TV, fitting behind the steering wheel of your car and walking up a flight of stairs to name a few. I am someone who really loves their career working in human resources and someone who loves to travel but I did not care very much for either when I was pregnant with twins!
Let’s start with the difficulties of working while pregnant with twins For starters, I spent the first twelve weeks of my pregnancy puling over in gas stations on my bumper to bumper, twelve mile commute to Cambridge, Massachusetts because I was so nauseous. Once I got to work, that nausea rarely subsided but the work still needed to get done. This was the worst part of working while pregnant for me because my colleagues didn’t know I was pregnant yet and therefore, didn’t know I needed more help. Side note- for those of you who miss out on the weeks and weeks of morning sickness, I hate you a little bit :)
The second trimester is the best. Your colleagues know you are pregnant now. Strangers want to help you by holding doors, carrying your things, etc. You can eat what you want and typically don’t feel sick anymore! You have an adorable baby bump but it isn’t too large that it prevents you from doing a lot of your day to day activities. It was by far the most enjoyable part of my pregnancy for work and for travel.
As you get bigger, it does get harder to make it through the work day but luckily for me, my teammates at work were more than willing to help me out. I started working from home one day per week which helped me recharge. I’d put up my feet when I was sitting at my desk to prevent swelling. I’d hoard snacks in my desk so I constantly had something to nibble on (I was hungry 24/7). Half way through my pregnancy, my desk was also moved to a great location near a private restroom which was amazing since I was in there twenty times during the work day. That being said, I only made it through twenty eight weeks of pregnancy so I’m sure for those of you that make it much further, this part can become extremely difficult and tiresome so please take it easy.
After working throughout my twin pregnancy, I have a few pieces of advice and recommendations on a few things to purchase-
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. You’re at work and need to move around but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to prevent swelling and be as comfortable as you can be. It’s the only time in life that it’s appropriate to wear leggings and a loose sweater just about every day!
Put your feet up when you can. (I snuck an extra recycle bin under my desk and would keep my feet on there most of the day!)
Sit far away from anyone with a space heater! (My hormones were pumping and I was constantly hot, even in January in New England!)
Hoard snacks in your desk. It’s easy access, you don’t have to move and it doesn’t disrupt your day.
Wear SeaBands on your wrists to help with nausea. Click here to purchase on amazon!
Have Purell on your desk (you absolutely don’t want to get sick when pregnant if you can avoid it!)
Ask for help! Your colleagues will often want to help! Let them get you something you need, throw you a baby shower, etc. You can return the favor for the next new mama.
Try to get up and walk around when you use the restroom. It solves two issues in one by emptying that ever full bladder and gets your circulation moving!
Drink lots of water. I loved this water bottle for the office.
If you can, try to work from home once in a while. It allows you a little extra sleep, you don’t have to get dressed for work and you can get a few things done on your lunch break so you can actually relax when the work day is done.
Try to stay focused on work when you’re in the office. It’s a nice break from all the baby talk!
Now, let’s move onto travel. Let me start by saying that I love to travel. The year before we got pregnant, I traveled to Hawaii, California, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, Maryland, Washington DC, Tennessee, Iceland and Italy. While I was pregnant, I traveled to Georgia, Texas, Florida, California and Ireland but it was much harder than my pre-pregnancy travel! I was either super nauseous in the early months when we traveled to Georgia and Texas and later, when I traveled to Ireland, Florida and California, I was uncomfortably big (I measured like I was 34 weeks pregnant with a singleton at week 20 in my twin pregnancy!)
For early pregnancy travel, just do whatever you can to mitigate the nausea if you have it, which can be amplified on flights or in cars. For later pregnancy travel, my size started to take its toll on me. My back constantly bothered me, my feet were swollen and I felt like my stomach had stretched beyond capacity. This made travel much less comfortable and enjoyable. My one big suggestion on travel is know when to say no- there are things that are going to be much harder to do pregnant and there’s no shame in saying no to something and trying it next time around (In Ireland, I wanted to see everything but walking long distances was so exhausting and I got out of breath very easily. Sometimes, this meant taking a horse and buggy instead of walking the rest of the National Park in Kilarney!)
After taking several trips during my pregnancy, these are my recommendations:
Buy compression socks and wear those on flights or long car rides. They help prevent blood clots.
Wear SeaBands on your wrists for the nausea.
When on a flight, walk around every hour to increase circulation, drink lots of water and eat often.
Be conscious on vacation of what you are eating and how much water you are drinking.
Wear comfortable shoes as you behave like a tourist.
Bring your latest pregnancy check-up paperwork (request this in your most recent appointment before traveling)
Be aware of where the closest hospital is to where you are staying in case of an emergency.
Make sure your cell phone works where you are traveling (when we traveled to Ireland, we added an international plan to our phones so we could call the OBGYN if there was a concern.)
Beware of smoking (in other parts of this world, this is much more common in public places so be careful!)
Bring a great camera! I love this one and it actually broke on this trip- we sent it back and Canon sent us a brand new one back!
Know your body and limits. (I remember being 27 weeks pregnant in San Francisco and my colleague had to tell me to take it easy because we had been walking all over the city for hours. I should have been smart enough to stop myself and ask her to take it easy with me!)